“Us Against the World,” the Uproxx.com documentary series on former University of Kentucky basketball player Rodrick Rhodes’ controversial stint as head coach at Cordia High School in Lott’s Creek, Ky., began streaming Tuesday on the website.
The 10-episode series looks at how race, out-state-transfers and basketball mixed in the small Eastern Kentucky community.
Rhodes bolstered the Lions with transfers from in and out of state and took it from a 14th Region doormat to a regional power in the span of a few years.
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The rapid rise of the Lions drew intense scrutiny and KHSAA sanctions for recruiting violations that included a two-year postseason ban beginning in 2014. It also drew derision from rival communities that are highlighted in the series, which included vandalism and alleged racism at places Cordia went.
Rhodes continued to coach Cordia through the sanctions and led the Lions to their first All “A” Classic title in 2016. His contract was not renewed for the next season.
In the first episode of the series “Injustice Served,” Rhodes appears to offer a different take on a conversation he had with former teammate before he came to Cordia.
In a Mark Story column published at the beginning of his first season in 2011, Rhodes said he called former teammate Jeff Sheppard before accepting the position.
“I said, ‘Shep, how is it?’” Rhodes said. “And, ‘how is it for me?’”
Sheppard’s told Rhodes he would be welcomed.
“I told Rod that when the people in Eastern Kentucky looked at him, they weren’t going to see white or black,” Sheppard said. “They were going to see him and see (Kentucky Wildcats) blue.”
Said Rhodes to Story at the time: “He was right. The people have been great to me.”
At the beginning of first episode, Rhodes put that discussion in a different light, saying a former teammate actually cautioned him about coaching in Eastern Kentucky. Rhodes indicated his resulting experiences proved the initial caution right.
“To be honest with you, I think that it wore off. That blue wore off,” Rhodes said.
All 10 episodes are streaming now.